This Day in History – April 15th, 1952 – B52 Stratofortress Makes First Flight

By: Sean Sporman
By: Sean Sporman

It's been a staple of the American military air fleet for decades, and is planned to be for many more. And, it was on this day in history that a plane known as the B-52 made its first flight.

The B-52, or Stratofortress, was designed for nuclear deterrence as the Cold War heated up after the end of World War II.

The Boeing-built aircraft has eight turbojet engines and a design with swept-back, fixed wings. It can carry up to 70 thousand pounds of weapons. It can reach a maximum speed of 650 miles per hour.

It made its first flight on April 15th, 1952. Since then, it has served in many different capacities for decades, but has never dropped nuclear armaments—only conventional ones.

There have been several variants of the B-52 since then, and aside from military use in the Air Force, it has also been used by NASA for various scientific missions.

Although new bombers have been invented and produced since then, B-52s could be in service for decades to come thanks to good performance and low maintenance costs.

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